Celebrating National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. With my fourth-graders, it was a great way for me to introduce them to different poetry techniques while incorporating the concepts and ideas we were learning in other subject areas. My students wrote haikus, limericks,acrostics, and cinquain poems about fractions, electricity, and famous individuals.

But, how do you celebrate National Poetry Month with your family? And should you even bother? Yes you should celebrate, as long as it doesn’t feel like a bother. So here are six suggestions for sharing poetry as a family.

Visiting one of the great public libraries is one of the educational (and fun!) things to do in Los Angeles with kids

  1. Broaden your family reading material.  Even without much fanfare, just leave some fun poetry books out on the coffee table and see what happens. Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky are two favorites. Many of their poems are silly and fun. Maybe it leads to a new nightly tradition of randomly opening up the book and reading aloud one poem each night.
  2. Look at music lyrics.  Our favorite songs are poems, until they are set to music and sung. Take a look at what the songs are saying. Have you been mis-singing a word? Depending on the age of your children, have them identify the rhymes they hear, the adjectives, the adverbs, and prepositions that contribute to the message in the lyrics.
  3. Attend a poetry event.  Again, it’s all about exposure. We tell our kids they don’t know if they don’t like a certain food until they try it.  Same goes for poetry (or opera, or classical music, or fill-in-the-blank). Check your local library or bookstore for poetry events.
  4. The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.  The two-day event is held on the campus of USC, on April 22nd and 23rd. Immerse yourselves in this celebration of the written word (poetry or not).
  5. Poem in Your Pocket Day.  April 27th is Poem in Your Pocket Day. On this day, participants carry a poem with them and share it throughout the course of the day. Let your child copy down their favorite poem or pen their own and then share it during the day.
  6. Write a family Acrostic poem.  Acrostic poems use certain letters to begin each line. For instance, using my last name Kennar, the first line would begin with K. “Kindness is practiced when we pick up garbage at the playground.” The next line would begin with E.  “Everyone in our family is special and needs to be respected.”  The next line would begin with N,  and so on.


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